Cultivating the light of Matariki at Wintec

Wintec Māori Achievement Project Coordinator, Waimihi Hotere and Wintec Kaiāwhina, Horomona Horo at a Wintec student pōwhiri

Wintec Māori Achievement Project Coordinator, Waimihi Hotere and Wintec Kaiāwhina, Horomona Horo greet each other with a hongi at a Wintec pōwhiri to welcome new students.

Wintec’s Matariki festival, Horahia Matariki 2019, promises a cultural, colourful and engaging experience with a stellar lineup of 20 events to celebrate the Māori New Year from 7 June – 28 July.

The events for students, staff and the wider community are connected by a theme ‘Cultivating the light of Matariki’.  The festival includes film screenings, performance, a night shelter dinner and a welcome pōwhiri for new students. There will also be a public light show, Te Ruru, developed by Wintec School of Media Arts tutors and students in Hamilton’s Garden Place.

Wintec Executive Director Māori, Hera White, says that celebrating Matariki is an important annual event at Wintec.

“Celebrating Matariki through these events, increases the visibility and understanding of Māori and Pasifika culture at Wintec across our diverse student, staff and community audience.

“This year we have created a new brand for our Matariki events. The name, Horahia is a reference to the seven pou whakarae (pillars)representing Matariki star cluster (Pleiades) displayed at Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa marae on Wintec’s Hamilton City campus.

“These pou have inspired an enduring brand to bring together Matariki events at Wintec that focus on themes of wellbeing, explore new thinking and celebrate art, design and culture. There are a mix of internal and free public events and we are looking forward to sharing these with a wider audience.”

The seven pou whakarae (left) representing  Matariki at Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa maraeThe seven pou whakarae (on the left) representing the Matariki star cluster (Pleiades) at Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa marae on Wintec’s Hamilton City campus.

As the star cluster of the same name rises to launch the Māori New Year, Horahia Matariki 2019 will launch at dawn on Friday 7 June, at an event at Tōia Mai, the interactive Matariki sculpture gifted by Wintec, at the Ferrybank reserve on the banks of the Waikato River.

The wider Pasifika connection to Matariki acknowledged with two screenings of the new Pasifika feature film, Vai on 18 June in the Atrium at Wintec. Vai is made by nine female Pacific filmmakers, filmed in seven different Pacific countries as well as Aotearoa / New Zealand). Vai has a special Wintec connection through Wintec’s Māori Achievement Project Coordinator, Waimihi Hotere who was involved in the making of the film.

A traditional fire ceremony at Te Kōpū Mānia o Kirikiriroa marae at Wintec on Saturday 27 July will be the closing event for Horahia Matariki 2019.

In the Waikato, Matariki starts this year from 14 June – 28 July. Horahia Matariki 2019 starts a week earlier on 7 June so that students can be involved before they leave for their semester break on 14 June.

To see the full list of events for Horahia Matariki 2019 visit wintec.ac.nz/events.

To enquire about Horahia Matariki 2019, email marae@wintec.ac.nz.

About Matariki

Matariki is the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades. It rises in mid-winter and for Māori, heralds the start of the new year. Traditionally, it was a time for reflection of loss, celebrating new life and planning.

Matariki rises at the end of the harvest season. In the past, when the storehouses or pātaka were filled with produce, and the land left to rest, this was a time to celebrate and unify whānau (family). As the nights and days grew colder, it was a time to wānanga (plan and discuss), to repair, to weave, carve, sing and retell historical stories. Events today are often inspired by these activities.

Many cultures acknowledge Matariki but call it by other names. For example, the Ancient Greek Pleiades, Japanese Subaru, and for Hawaiians, Makali’i. Like Māori, these cultures share a spiritual relationship with the universe.

Iwi across Aotearoa celebrate Matariki at different times according to when its return is observed from their rohe (area). Because Māori follow the Māori lunar calendar, the dates for Matariki change every year. In 2019, the Matariki cluster will set on 27 May and return from 25-28 June. Nationally, the Matariki period is 25 June-3 July. 

Accordingly, In the Waikato, Matariki is celebrated from 14 June – 28 July 2019.  Wintec has partnered with the wider group, Matariki ki Waikato to raise awareness by bringing together communities and promoting events to celebrate Matariki. Matariki ki Waikato events are listed here.

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